House races

Nurses super-PAC endorses primary challenger to Wasserman Schultz

Anne Wernikoff

A super-PAC for nurses that has spent more than $1 million in support of Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign has endorsed a primary challenger to Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.)

National Nurses United on Wednesday announced their endorsement of Florida professor Tim Canova, who is trying to to unseat Wasserman Schultz in the Democratic primary. 

{mosads}The group has endorsed Sanders in the primary battle against Hillary Clinton, but he has not blessed the group, in line with his blanket opposition to super-PACs.

Sanders’s campaign has clashed with the DNC during the campaign. He accused the DNC of siding with Clinton and sued the committee after it briefly blocked the campaign from accessing party voter data when a campaign staffer improperly accessed Clinton’s data. 

The Vermont senator’s allies have had Wasserman Schultz in their sights since that controversy. Progressive group, which has endorsed Sanders, got more than 71,000 people to sign a petition calling for her resignation. Pennsylvania Democratic Senate candidate John Fetterman, another Sanders supporter, sent out his own petition last week. 

Canova is mounting the first intra-party challenge to Wasserman Schultz since she was first elected to the House in 2004. 

“On issue after issue, Tim Canova lines up with the concerns of nurses and our patients while Debbie Wasserman Schultz has turned her back on these concerns,” said Deborah Burger, the NNU’s co-president, at a press conference Thursday.

“Tim and the NNU also are vocal supporters of Bernie Sanders for President because he also shares these same values. For all these reasons we are enthusiastically backing Tim Canova for Congress.”

In an interview with The Hill last month, Canova suggested Wasserman Schultz has lost touch with her district, noting her vote in favor of trade promotion authority for President Obama.

“People here on the ground — I hear left and right, you name it — are just dissatisfied that she’s not responsive, she takes people for granted, and it’s becoming evident in the way she votes on an awful lot of issues,” Canova said.

Some liberal groups have taken issue with Wasserman Schultz’s voting record. The progressive Allied Progress launched a television ad in her district criticizing her votes on payday lenders. 

“She takes a lot of corporate money, and she votes for corporate interests contrary to the interest of her own constituents,” Canova said. 

Unseating Wasserman Schultz won’t be easy. She has cruised to reelection in recent years and is among the Democratic Party’s most capable fundraisers. 

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